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10 Silver Linings of My Illness

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Often it can be easy to find ourselves lost in the hardships, negatives, anger and upsets of the things we face, both with illness/disability and other aspects of our lives, but there is more. The clouds of our lives are etched with silver, and here are some of the places I have found it.

1. Because I am ill, I have gotten amazing opportunities! Being ill has lead me to writing for The Mighty, talking about issues I care about, and one day, if I can, I’ll be able to direct it into motivational speaking (which would be incredible!).

2. Because I have been ill, I have had a chance to develop my compassion and empathy (and medical terminology/trivia, a great party trick!). I can now relate to new groups of people, and want to help make things better. Ultimately, being ill has made me kinder.

3. My illness has given me insight into my own ability to cope. I am braver and more capable than I thought I was. Sure, I have my days when things seem too hard, but I have always picked myself back up, dusted myself off and tried again, and without illness in my life, I might never have known I could do that.


4. Being ill has led me to explore hobbies and avenues I might never have otherwise found. Now an aspiring writer, pre-illness karate-kid me would never have the time!

5. Illness has given me anger, sadness and pain. None of these sound especially like silver linings, do they? But they have given me a comparative gauge. In the darkness of the hardships, the light of joy stands out so much brighter.

6. Without my illness, I might never have had some of the most defining moments of my life. My proudest accomplishment is walking again, despite being told I wouldn’t, and my biggest wave of gratitude came during a surgery for a mum who was there when I needed her to be. Neither of these would have happened without my illness to have stood on.

7. Because I am ill, my achievements sometimes have a little more power and seem a touch more dramatic. Graduating high school? Well, maybe a year late, but isn’t it cool that nothing held me back? Publishing a book? I’m still waiting on that one, but if it happens, I bet it will be sweet!

8. Being ill has shown me who loves me most and it has strengthened those bonds.

9. Illness has given me the drive for positivity and optimism. I’ve never been as much of a glass half-full person as I’d have liked to be, but illness has shown me how much I really do want to be, and has inspired me to work towards it.

10. Illness has shaped me. It has made me who I am, and, for better or for worse, I am glad it got the chance to.

We all have our sorrows and hardships, but I am finding new silver linings every day, whenever I take the time to pause and look for them. Illness/disability has been the dirt dumped on me, but without a good foundation of soil, how could I ever have expected to bloom?

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Thinkstock photo via Ricardo Reitmeyer.

Originally published: May 26, 2017
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